Atlas Fights will return to action for their second show this month, Atlas Fights 55, set for Saturday, August 22, 2020, set again for the beach of Biloxi, Mississippi. The event will be another star-filled event, just as its predecessor Atlas Fights 54. One of the biggest names on the professional portion of the card will feature one of Alabama’s top welterweights, Mike Barnett.
Transition From Ball Sports to Combat Sports
Many combat sports athletes transition after competing in your typical “ball sports” growing up. “I was a ball sport athlete my entire life and wrestled in high school, but was always interested in combat sports,” Barnett told MyMMANews. “Also in college, I knew I was going to go into law enforcement so I wanted to be traditionally trained. I finally got an opportunity to begin training after a visit home to California with my best friend who gave me a Muay Thai lesson.”
Landing at Port City Kickboxing Academy
Moving to Alabama after graduating high school to be closer to family, Barnett attended the University of South Alabama, earning his degree in Criminal Justice. After returning from his trip to California, he found the traditional training he was looking for at Port City Kickboxing Academy. ” When I got back to Mobile I found the Port City Kickboxing Academy and after a few months I took my first fight and thought I had a talent for it so I stuck with it and the rest is history,” Barnett stated. Port City Kickboxing Academy is one of the most respected fight teams along the Gulf Coast. It is also the home to UFC lightweight Brok Weaver. Barnett currently serves as the team’s striking coach and assistant kid’s instructor.
Preparing Amongst a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has effected everyone worldwide, including the sports world. Many sports and athletes have dealt with the pandemic differently. For Barnett, he made the best he could out of the difficult situation to prepare for his upcoming bout. “COVID forced me to learn a good bit about strength and conditioning for a long time until the gyms opened back up. SO it’s made me a better coach/trainer and fighter,” Barnett said. “Luckily for me my skill work (striking and grappling) wasn’t interrupted too much because my coaches were able to meet with me privately and train me in 1-on-1 sessions.”
Fighting Outdoors on the Beach
The pandemic has affected the training abilities of fighters around the world. It also is still having an effect to this day on the way events are presented. Not all organizations have a facility like the UFC’s Apex to hold a crowd-free event in. Atlas Fights has utilized the outdoors of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, on the beach of Biloxi. Atlas Fights 54 did not seem to provide any problems to the night’s fighters. The South is known for it’s scorching summer temperatures and can always present itself as an issue. In addition to potential weather issues, the pandemic has made it nearly impossible for events to even take place.
“After being off since January and having a few big fights cancelled because of the pandemic, I’m very happy to be back in action. It’s great to have things attempting to get back to normal. This year has been a wasted year for a lot of guys’ careers and I’m glad that for me it was only an extended break,” Barnett said. Barnett sounds confident in his ability to handle the outdoors. “I’ve fought outside and close to the beach before so I know what to expect and what it takes. I’ve done some training outside as well so I’m confident in my preparation.”
Big Showdown at Atlas Fights 55
It has been seven months since Barnett has been in a cage. He will return to action against an extremely tough test in Jesse Butler. Butler is based out of North Louisiana and currently owns a 7-4 professional record. This bout will prove to be a tough test for both fighters. The potential of fight of the night will be on the line. Six of Butler’s seven wins have come by submission while seven of Barnett’s 10 wins have come by knockout. “On August 22nd fans can expect to see me go out and put on an exciting performance. I’m really looking forward to competing again.
I am a life-long MMA fan who has been a fan since UFC 1. I was born in Illinois but raised in South Louisiana, home of many great mixed martial artists. I started martial arts at the age of 4 and continued into my adult years where I served nearly 10 years in law enforcement. I feel my job is to convey the stories of the MMA fighters we enjoy to watch and share their stories with the world.
Follow me on Twitter @LAknockoutMMA